People’s Poland

by Boleslaw Bierut

Extracts from a speech at the Unification Congress of the Polish Workers’ and Socialist Parties, December 1948

Can one conceive People’s Democracy as a combination of two opposed social regimes, as a permanent static mixture of socialist and capitalist elements living peacefully side by side?

It is evident that such a representation of the problems of the People’s Democracy is entirely erroneous. The co-existence of opposed regimes without friction between them is not known in the history of social development. Inside the framework of a given social regime there can exist, and there do exist temporarily, side by side, various forms of production. In our country the basic form of production is the nationalised state industry, socialist industry....

The fact that the old dominating classes – the big capitalists and landowners – were fully eliminated from influencing the state interests and that their factories and estates have become the property of the whole nation, that the land formerly belonging to the landowners has become the property of peasants, that the banks were nationalised – all this defines the people’s character of our regime.

This means that all the economic and political positions of the big capitalists and landowners were once and forever broken down. But, there can be no question of any “freezing” of the existing economic relations, of the inviolability of the parallel positions of the various economic sectors, for at least this reason, that our economy does not stay in one place, it develops and grows at a speedier rate than in any of the preceding periods....

Certain representatives of capitalist circles, and certainly all kinds of parasites, do not like the present relations, they disagree with the policy of a People’s Democratic State. They endeavour to undermine the confidence of the masses in the People’s Government; they endeavour to harm them and create confusion in our life by spreading absurd gossip, by spreading panic, or in some other way render difficult the life and work of the toiling masses.

It is obvious that our Party must fight these detrimental influences, must eradicate all destructive forms of their activity. A State defending the rights of the working people must counteract excessive profits by taking appropriate economic, legal, and administrative measures. Under these conditions, the sharpening of the class struggle cannot be avoided in a State of People’s Democracy, and all theories of avoiding and stopping such struggles, of closing our eyes to the exploitation and social harm inflicted on the working class by the capitalist elements, are detrimental and erroneous.

Under the regime of People’s Democracy there exist many millions of small producers, small and medium farmers. These are the allies of the working class and the support of the People’s Authority. One of the chief tasks of the People’s Democratic regime is to assist these peasant groups to raise their economy and the general culture in the country. The task of the working class, building the foundations of a new social regime, is to strengthen and deepen the alliance between workers and peasants, which is the basis of the People’s Authority.

As long as capitalist elements exist and develop and the small production economy is dependent on the elemental law of exchange of goods, as long as the economic roots of the capitalist system can send out new shoots, the capitalist system has the possibility of reviving. Without eradicating the roots of economic capitalist exploitation, capitalist elements will endeavour at all cost to restore the old capitalist system. For this reason the working class must carry on a ruthless struggle against capitalist elements, must aim at the complete elimination of all forms and sources of economic exploitation.

From the above considerations, it follows that the People’s Democracy is not a synthesis or a stabilised form of co-existence of two different social systems, but is a form of pushing out and gradual elimination of capitalist elements. At the same time it is a form which develops and strengthens the future social economy.

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